It’s all COVID, all the time

I have been making face masks like they are going out of style. I’m using the pattern from The Crafty Quilter, which I have enjoyed. Some fit better than others, despite using the same pattern, so goodness knows what I’m doing differently on them. The only problem I have is that sometimes on some of them, the nose slips. But this is a common issue with many masks (it seems), and I suspect it is because I am using elastic cording to go around my ears and not behind my head (it is too hard to get elastic to use that much on each mask, so I use the least amount to conserve). It seems like this is going to be a long-term need, so I figure I should have a stockpile for myself, my family, friends, etc.

I can’t remember if I said, but we had planned to go to Disneyland in April. In March, we rescheduled our trip to September because at that time, it looked like things might be open in September. Now, I am nearly certain we will have to fully cancel our trip. My main concern is if we will get our money back from Disney tickets, Universal tickets, the train, and the plane. The Disney tickets we have are valid through January 2021, but we wouldn’t be able to go during the fall/winter, and so far, the Disneyland site doesn’t have any provisions for extending multi-day tickets. Perhaps that will change. But we’ve put out about $2,000 on all that, so… It’d be great if we could get it back. Or if we could have the credits/tickets without expiration dates so that we could go someday when things look more normal.

My wife and I are lucky enough to both be essential workers and to not have to worry about losing our jobs. She works from home, and I go into work. But at least we are both able to work. We also traded her car in for a 2015 Mazda CX-5 (only 26k miles!) in preparation for someday having kids around and needing more room. It feels weird to make a purchase like that in the middle of this crisis, but since we have steady jobs and have been planning for a car purchase, we went ahead and did it. Let me tell you, this is a nice car. It feels so fancy.

Speaking of kids – still no idea as to when we might start fostering/doing respite. We’ve been waiting a bit until things open more – maybe Phase Two? At some point, we’re just going to have to bite the bullet. However, without childcare or school available, it won’t be possible for us to do regular fostering, so that’s a thing. I don’t know how parents are managing all this, especially if they both have to work.

That to say, it’s time to wake my wife up for our weekly early morning grocery store trip.

Stay safe!

Project Updates

Our application to become foster parents has been approved! To be honest, in the current state of things, it feels a little anti-climatic. We are supposed to start with respite care, then move to long term care, but with T’s medications and the current mandates, I don’t think we are able to do respite care. So… Not really sure what it will look like. We are supposed to find out more details this week from the Y for how on-boarding will look, etc.

This weekend, we also kicked ass on projects. If you recall, the back of our backyard used to be all blackberries. We cut those down last year, but the whole area was still full of sharp stems. So a couple weekends ago, we did a final raking. And then this weekend, we took T’s small rototiller and rototilled the whole area. Then, we finally pulled down the chicken wire fence we put up a year ago to protect Spike (our little dog) from getting hurt. We still need to get rid of some of the pile of sticks (our yard waste is full-full-full), and we need to go over it again with a bigger rototiller. My dad’s neighbor is going to let us borrow his at some point.

Plus, months ago, we had built a railing in the nook on the landing by the stairs to bring the house to code for fostering (and safety). This weekend, we finally stained it and finished it with polyurethane. Four coats of poly! But it looks amazing, and it is done.

When we moved in, we also removed the door from the doorway to the nook because we are not using that space as a bedroom, but living space. We wanted it to feel open. However, the cutouts in the frame for the hinges and latch were still there and ugly. I had the bright idea to fill them in with shims and paint stir sticks (cut to the correct length), which were the perfect thickness. So now they’re filled with wood, and the gaps are filled with latex putty. After we sand and paint, you will not be able to tell the frame was missing anything. You can barely tell now. (Although, that says more about the state of all our trim — another project for the future is to repaint all the trim.)

All that, plus our normal chores and cooking for the week. That’s the one thing COVID-19 is doing for us — giving us the time to finish up our projects.


Okay, so I did not present my new boss with my idea. I did sketch it out and get a detailed plan as to how I might. But I did not. I realized it’s a bit premature of an idea to present to a man who wants to cut costs, not incur them.

Unfortunately, he also wants to somehow combine his team at the other facility with ours. And I’ve only heard they are hot messes. I am not going to farm out my beautifully clean work to people who do not know what they are doing. Oh, no. I can do more than I think. And that is my idea. To do more and to not worry about it. I have great capacity to get things done.

You may have heard of a little thing called COVID-19, aka the Coronavirus? We are at the epicenter of the outbreak in the US. I don’t normally say much about where I live or those details, but I’m in the Seattle metro area. And I work in nursing home (no COVID-19 cases yet). And my wife is on two immunosuppressant drugs. Life has gotten a bit weird here.

We are not stockpiling anything. But I do worry that when we run out of something, we don’t be able to buy it. Hopefully things get back in stock. Neither of us can work from home, so we’re both going in every day. And we’re just being cautious.

We’re supposed to go to Disneyland next month. We have been planning this trip for about 8 months. I have everything booked – even down to a reservation for dinner for Fantastmic so we can watch from a terrace while sitting. But Disneyland is closed through the end of this month. And it may close for longer. Plus, with our governor’s response to the panic, I am just daily waiting for him to close the borders to/from Washington. (Or for Trump to do the same.) We haven’t canceled yet – we are going to wait until the bitter end – but we expect that we will have to cancel. If so, we intend to reschedule for September. More waiting, but that’s the soonest we could feasibly go.

You guys, this thing is nuts.

brave ‘like a man’

Obviously, Thursday left me with a lot of feels. On Friday, however, I met with my CEO to discuss a “Take it Back Project” I have to do for a leadership program I’m in this year.

We discussed my idea for my project and the conversation naturally flowed to the changes at work and with management. In total, the conversation was around an hour and a half, so this was no quick chat. We have a lot of unknowns at the moment, so I decided to tell him my ‘ideal daydream’ for how I’d love my office to look.

I told him that I’d like to become the Office Manager (we do not presently have this role), and that our accounting assistant would then learn and take over several of my current duties. We’d have to hire a clerk part time to make this work. But then, I would have time for my new duties that I’m taking over, plus the projects that I really want to do (as that is what truly excites me – new challenges and projects). He actually really liked the idea and was in full support. He wants me to present the idea to our new CFO to see if the CFO would support it.

My CEO does believe that it will go over well. The CFO (who, if you recall, we are contracting with from another facility) is somewhat concerned, apparently, about having the time to support us like we need (we are such a skeleton crew). So my CEO believes this would alleviate the concern and prove we can be self-sufficient for the daily running of the business office. (We would then use the CFO when needed for consulting or for the things you need the ‘big dog’ to do – like lay the smack down.)

I talked to my coworker about this after my meeting. He was also in full support (although he did tease me later about my ‘power grab’). He’s been there about 23 years, so I figured he would know if it seemed like a good idea and if it would work. I haven’t talked with our accounting assistant yet, but I will do so if the CFO approves my idea.

I have never really approached someone before and said “I would like to do this thing.” This thing being create a position for myself that it is exactly what I would like to do instead of what I am currently doing. But I know it is also a thing many men would do without question. And why let my gender hold me back? This is a great opportunity, as we are in a state of flux, to make my move and get a better position. Plus, you lose every chance you do not take.

Now I have to figure out how to present this the best way and come up with a rough idea of what I will say. I do not know our CFO hardly at all, so it is not the same as approaching the CEO, who I have worked with for years.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


My boss retired yesterday. She hired me three and a half years ago and has mentored me and helped me with my career. She has taught me an incredible amount and built into me and believed in me. And now’s she retired. I am so happy for her, but I am definitely sad for me.

My work is in a bit of flux at the moment. My organization is making some decisions about how things will be in the future. My new boss is a CFO we are contracting with from a nearby facility. He is going to be very different from my old boss.

My boss was a ‘working’ CFO. She was an integral part of our office and participated in many of our duties and activities. For such a small office (not counting her position, there are three of us to do all the business functions of a nursing home and assisted living), it has been helpful and comforting to have her as a safety net. Our new CFO is not that type of CFO. He will be working on higher level functions only – such as contracts, budgets, financial reports. This means that my boss has been farming out her work to us. I have gotten the bulk of it, it seems. I have payroll, taxes, quarterly reports, annual reports, pension, supervising our accounting assistant, and god knows what else. All on top of my regular workload. We did all get pay raises this year to help, but do you know what we did not get? More time. I am still hourly and still constrained by the 40 hour week as overtime is a four letter word in my office.

Yesterday felt rushed and ineffectual. Our new boss was there and seemed too jovial for the occasion. My emotions went everywhere. But mostly I feel overwhelmed and angry and unsure. After I left work, I cried most of the way home, then got home, and when my wife started asking about how it went, cried again. This is the first time she’s seen me cry, so I think it was a bit surprising for her. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve cried the entire time we have been together. (I do not cry often; it is usually a culmination of a ton of things going on that would bring me to the brink.)

I am trying to be positive because these changes can bring good things. But they are still change, and we still do not know what it will truly look or feel like. We will find out soon, surely. In the meantime, in these last few days/weeks/months of uncertainty, I know I need to pull myself together, to be willing to be a team with new people, and to fake it until I make it.

But, god, change is hard.

Projects & DIY

Is the world still into DIYers? My wife DIY a lot of things. The main reason is that we have a budget and can’t always just pay someone to do something for us, or pay for a ‘real’ product. We’re also lucky that my dad is retired, lives close, and loves projects.

For example, we purchased a solid wood chest at a salvaged building materials shop and turned it into a cat litter box hider. We sanded it and cut a hole for the cats to go in, then painted the chest and redid the hinges. But when people see it, they have no idea it hides cat poop. Exactly the point. You can buy the same thing in press-board for at least twice what we paid to make it ourselves.

We built a wood railing in our ‘nook’ on the landing. Well, we purchased all the pieces and put it together (with my dad’s help). We did not shape and create the baluster or the newel posts or the top and bottom rails.

Recently, we took a wood stove out of the house. It was sitting in front of the fireplace on the hearth, taking room and looking ugly. (Besides, we can’t get earthquake insurance because our chimney/fireplace is real masonry, so we may as well use it!) The prior owner had painted the fireplace, but painted around the stove. So we’ve painted that to match. Now we’re waiting for a chimney cleaner/inspector before we do more.

At some point, we’re considering putting in a fence in the front yard. Just a short one. I want to put it in ourselves, rather than pay for someone. Just think of the savings! Honestly, I think the hardest part is digging the post holes and getting the posts in correctly. After that, the rest should be a breeze, right?

We’ve been in this house for almost a year – we purchased it last year in March. And it seems like it is a never ending stream of projects that need completing. But I guess that’s just what happens when you own a house. Or so I’m told.

Loveliest of Trees

by A. E. Housman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Interning it up

I’m taking a year long accounting certificate course at my local community college, and I’m required to do an internship. Luckily, I am able to do it at my current job. Unluckily, it means adding an extra 15 hours or so to my workweek without adding extra hours in the day. However, even though I’m definitely behind in my normal work and not on top of things like I prefer to be, I am learning a ton! And I’m really enjoying seeing the real-life applications of my accounting courses. I told my co-worker, who is my internship supervisor, that I never feel more like an intern than when he asks me to put a specific piece of paper in the printer. (ha) Still, I won’t be sad when this is over in 3.5 weeks.

Of course, then I’ll be in my last quarter of classes, full time again (on top of a full time job!), with one class meeting twice a week on campus after work. My other classes are all online, which is my preference. But twice a week, I will have to abandon my pup at work (I take him to work every day) and go to class from 5:30pm-7:40pm. Hopefully, my boss will be there most of the time and will keep him company. Otherwise, the kennel it will be.

I’m also applying for a leadership institute that my boss wanted me to do. She said I should be able to get in, as she has talked to the woman who coordinates it and our organization has never sent anyone before. But like I told my boss, I still have to put my best foot forward because I am not going to count any chickens before they hatch! I’m really hopeful for this experience because it will be a good thing for me personally and hopefully for my career, as well. It’s a year long program, and will overlap with my last quarter at school, but there is only four times a year you meet in person over two days. Plus work has to pay for it all, so this is nothing but good for me.

I am so lucky to have a boss who believes in me and wants to invest in me. Not every one gets these chances, and I wouldn’t be able to do them on my own. And so very hopefully, they will help me advance my career. I love my job, but I want to do more.

And at that, it’s time to start getting ready for work.

Post move update

My cat is obsessed with my hair product. She has never been a groomer, but I started using Reuzel’s Extreme Hold Matte Pomade, and now she licks my hair whenever she gets the opportunity. I’m not going to lie: it’s gross. I’ll say this, though. I love that hair product! It actually makes my hair do what I want it to do. My only complaint would be that it’s a bit sticky after it dries, and I would rather it had no stickiness at all (after drying).

We did move in, successfully. T has done most of the unpacking while I do homework. I feel a little bad about it, but I don’t have a lot of options. I love our house, though. It’s cute and cozy and ours. The commute is too bad, but I had no commute before, so I suppose it’s back to real life. I hate losing that hour and a half I used to have every day. But I’m listening to audio books in the car on the drive, so at least it doesn’t feel like a long drive.

Maybe someday I’ll be interesting again. Until then, if you’re reading, thanks.

Sabbatical is over

I’m back! I wasn’t truly on sabbatical from my blog, but I recently realized it had been about six or seven months of radio silence. Since my absence, I got married (it was wonderful), started a certificate course at my local community college online (to get some actual accounting/bookkeeping credentials), and bought a house with my wife.

The house is what consumes us currently (well, that and I am taking three classes this quarter, so I’m busy with homework, as well). We closed a couple weeks ago, but thanks to flexibility with our current rental lease, we left ourselves a few weeks to get things done at the new place before we move in. We’ve been busy painting, insulating, and making minor repairs as we discover them. Really, my parents have been doing the bulk of the work, as T and I can only go up on weekends. (Thank god for retired, helpful parents!) My mom has been painting nearly every day, and my dad, with weekend help from my brother, insulated and sheetrocked the entire garage. The house is going to be great once we get there.

I’m excited to be a homeowner. I know it’s more work and more responsibility, but it means its ours. I really can’t wait to move in. Move date is set for April 13th. After that, things should calm down back to the new normal (for me) of still very busy instead of crazy-busy.